Story Quilts with Unhoused Communities


This project archived participants’ individual narratives and stories of temporary communities to gain visibility for housing rights in the San Francisco Bay Area. In workshops, people experiencing homelessness made drawings and crafted textile panels to self-represent, tell the story of temporary community, or process their experience. These elements were then combined into a series of quilts.

Workshop documentation. Participant posing for a photo during a wearables worlkshop. Tenderloin, San Francisco, 2019

In 2020, Covid disrupted in-person meetings and shut down homeless shelters for over a year. Because of this, Feral Fabric shifted to a new model and developed a Sew & Mend DIY Kit. Made primarily using donated and upcycled fabrics, the kits contained everything recipients needed to express themselves through a textile project, and doubled as tools to repair clothes, tents, or anything else made of fabric. The kits were distributed through 2022 and functioned as a natural progression of the original story quilt idea – but instead of coming together in quilt form, the panels remained dispersed in communities throughout the Bay Area.

The Story Quilt project’s final exhibition of quilt tops and related work was shown in the windows of Pro Arts Gallery in downtown Oakland which at the time also doubled as a covid testing center and therefore hightened the project’s visibility to the public.

See more about this project’s background at under Story Quilts >

Left: Workshop documentation. Here/There Camp on the Berkeley/Oakland border. February 2020

Right: Kit distribution in Oakland 2021.
Hosted by partnerPunks with Lunch.

This work was made possible with the generous support of crowdfunded donations alongside an Artist Grant from the City of Berkeley
Project partners:
Womens Daytime Drop-In Center Berkeley, South Country Homeless Project Hayward, Here/There Camp Berkeley. 

Distribution partners: West Oakland Punks with Lunch, The Village Free Store, Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency Family Homeless Shelter in Berkeley, and Raphael House Family Homeless Shelter, San Francisco.

Sewing Volunteers: Maureen O’Neill, Morgan Baxter, and Rosemary Sallee.

Material donations: Social Justice Sewing Academy. 

Story Quilts Documentation

1. Unititled (Story Quilt 1). Feral Fabric and South County Homeless Project, Hayward. 2020-2022. Mixed textile media. Approxiamtely 305 x 366cm (10 x 12’)
2. Unititled (Story Quilt 2). Feral Fabric and Here/There Camp, Berkeley/Oakland. 2020-2022. Mixed textile media.Approximately 62 x 90cm (24 x 36”)
3. Unititled (Story Quilt 3). Feral Fabric and Women’s Daily Drop-In Center, Berkeley. 2020-2022. Mixed textile media.Approximately 60 x 60cm ( 24 x 24”)
4. Workshop Flyer
5. Untitled (Tarp). Feral Fabric 2022. Industrial tarp. 305 x 366cm (10 x 12’)
6-8. Installation at ProArts Gallery, Oakland (interior, detail, and exterior view)

Documentation of Mending and Applique DIY kits for distribution: Kits contained a mix of fabrics, needle and thread, glue, sewing instructions, project description, and a fabric pach advocating for housing rights. They sometimes also included scissors and embroidery materials